Mother Jones of America (1830-1930)

Artist: 
Br. Robert Lentz, OFM

Artist's Narrative:
A government official once called Mary Jones "The most dangerous woman in America." She was dangerous to the established order because she was fearless in her defense of the oppressed working class. For 60 years she went into mining towns where men often feared to go, organizing unions. The miners called her "Mother" Jones.

Government militia imprisoned her in jails, tents, and sewers. She was sent out of town by train, but she came back. To keep owners from breaking strikes with scab labor, she organized miner’s wives into brigades armed with brooms, mops and buckets. "I live in the United States," she once told a Congressman, "but I do not know exactly where. My address is wherever there is a fight against oppression. My address is like my shoes -- it travels with me."

She compared the labor movement with the flight of the Jews from Egypt. "The labor movement, my friends, was a command from God Almighty. He commanded the prophet to redeem the Israelites that were in bondage. He organized the men into a union." Thousands attended her requiem Mass when she died at the age of 100.

In this icon she stands in front of massive mining machinery. She is wearing dark Victorian clothing, as was her custom. The text on her scroll is from an exhortation she gave to West Virginia miners in 1902. The Greek inscription by her head reads "Holy Mary."

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